athlete of the week
Name Kenji Fan Man-chung
School The Community College at Lingnan University
Kenji, 20, is a member of the South China Athletic Association's (SCAA) cycling team. Last year, he was the Elite B category champion of the Hong Kong Road Cycling Race (series 5).
He was also a part of SCAA's third-placed team in the team time trial of the Hong Kong Road Cycling Race (series 4). He clinched a silver and a bronze medal in the Hong Kong Road Cycling Race (series 2).
'When I was in Form One, my neighbourhood friends wanted to ride bikes so I bought a cheap one. A year later, we bought better bikes for longer rides - from Tuen Mun to Sai Kung, Tsim Sha Tsui and other urban districts,' says Kenji.
'Sometimes, we rode overnight and once I arrived back home at dawn. My mum was furious. She bought a chain lock to lock my bike. I found a saw in the tool box at home and cut the chain when my mum was not at home. She relocked it and I cut the chain again.
'But eventually I gave in, stopped cycling with my friends and sold my bike. Instead, I focused on table tennis training, which I started in primary school.
'But, when I completed Form Three, a friend who went to study abroad gave his road bike to me.
'That reignited my passion for the sport and I joined a professional team, BICI, in Form Four, six years ago. Training was very tough and every time I arrived home exhausted. But I learned the basics of cycling and had the chance to ride in mainland competitions. I bought my new bike, which I am still using, in 2008. I joined SCAA in 2009.
'I started systematic training quite late and I had only one chance to join the selection for the Hong Kong youth team. I was so nervous on selection day that I forgot to adjust the height of my cycle's seat. In the test, you had to ride the maximum possible distance. My feet kept coming off the pedals. That blew my chance of joining the national team.
'But I continued to train with my [SCAA] team. Now I am good at local road races, and I have won many prizes.'
From his coach
'Kenji loves the sport and takes good care of his bike. All he needs is better time management,' says his coach, Simon Chau Wai-man.
'I would like to take part in overseas competitions in the coming season,' says Kenji. 'I qualified for one last year, but I was unable to compete because it clashed with exams. I also want to excel in local races.'